Translocation of nitrogen in a vegetative wheat plant (Triticum aestivum)

Richard J. Simpson, Hans Lambers, Michael J. Dalling

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86 Citations (Scopus)


The translocation of nitrogen was studied in vegetative wheat plants (Triticum aestivum L. cv. SUN 9E) grown with a limited supply of nitrogen. The concentration of nitrogen in xylem sap exuding from the excised roots was the same as the nitrogen concentration in the transpiration stream. Translocation of nitrogen to the shoot was, therefore, calculated as the product of the transpiration rate and the concentration of nitrogen in xylem exudates. On the 22nd day from sowing more nitrogen was translo‐cated to the shoot than it incorporated, and 56% of the nitrogen translocated to the shoot was retranslocated to the roots. The nitrogen retranslocated to the roots was more than adequate to supply the requirements of the roots for growth, and the balance of the retranslocated nitrogen was reloaded into the xylem stream. Expressed as a proportion of the total increment of nitrogen in the plant on day 22, between 79 and 100% of the nitrogen absorbed by the plant was “cycled'’ in the plant (root → shoot → root → shoot). It is suggested that the size of this mobile reserve of nitrogen may vary depending on the growth requirement of the plant, its nitrogen‐uptake capacity and the contribution of nitrogen from mobilisation of leaf protein during senescence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-17
Number of pages7
JournalPhysiologia Plantarum
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1982
Externally publishedYes


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